Romário Still Beating All-Comers At 39 Years Of Age
12/5/2005 9:46:00 PM
Romário sobbed uncontrollably on the São Januário pitch after Sunday’s 3-1 win over visiting Paraná Clube. The Baixinho had just found out that his brace of penalties had lifted him clear of Paysandu’s Róbson, unable to score in his first division swansong, and clinched the top scorer trophy – or ‘golden boot’ – and a Brazilian record.
The mythical striker potted both goals from the spot to be written into the history books as the Oldest ‘Artilheiro’ (Artilleryman literally, but top scorer metaphorically) in the 25 editions of the Brazilian league to date. “Happily, or perhaps unhappily for other players, penalties also count” grinned the number 11 before hugging Club President Eurico Miranda.
Encircled by a swarm of journalists, Romário had to take a break from his declarations four times as he felt tears welling up inside. Given his personality and the unseen feat of beating young guns like Carlitos Tevez into a back seat, the Baixinho did veer towards self-aggrandisement several times, but, then again, how many people even near this age have nailed the top scorer award over the past twenty years in any country?
"For me it’s an honour to be proclaimed top scorer at 39 years of age. It’s an attainment that few are able to reach. I think it’s a first in Brazil. Today I’m starting to break my own records; do things that I never thought possible” a tear-streaked Baixinho explained.
True to form, Romário lashed out at those who doubted his ability to play at this level with his fortieth just around the corner. “Those who stupidly doubted me will now just have to eat their words. I prove myself on the pitch, not behind a desk or a microphone. I play because I love it, not to mark time.”
Vasco should be counting on his services for at least the first quarter of 2006, as Romário wants to play the Carioca and Guanabara Tournaments (combining to form the Rio de Janeiro state trophy) and will see how things go before making a decision whether to play the Brasileirão 2006 or not.
”From now I’m on holiday. There’s a chance to play just the Carioca [tournament] or the whole year, but let’s see what happens. Football is the thing I love doing most in the world – on a pitch!” He was whisked off by President Miranda together with Renato Gaúcho to receive warm and prolonged applause from the VIP box. Vasco’s seventh league top scorer is still every inch a footballing hero